Prince Harry – latest news: Duke ‘lost friends’ over Mail stories, as Elton John’s ‘landline was tapped’

The Duke of Sussex lost friends due to “paranoia” over “unlawful” stories published about him in the papers, the High Court has heard.

Sir Elton John and actor Sadie Frost were among those in court alongside Prince Harry on the first day of their High Court challenge over Associated Newspapers Ltd’s (ANL) allegedly unlawful activity at its titles, which included the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

The court heard on Monday that Prince Harry had lost or “cut off” friends as “everyone became a ‘suspect’, since he was misled by the way that the articles were written into believing that those close to him were the source” of articles about him.

The lawyer for the group, also including actor Liz Hurley and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, told the judge that Sir Elton‘s landline had been tapped, and that the publisher had “unlawfully” obtained a copy of he and David Furnish’s first child before the couple had even seen it themselves.


The publisher has previously described the group’s allegations as “preposterous smears.”

Key Points

  • Prince Harry tells court he lost friends due to ‘paranoia’ over ‘unlawful’ stories

  • Sir Elton John in court as judge told publisher saw copy of child’s birth certificate before him

  • Publisher brands allegations ‘preposterous smears’

  • Why is Prince Harry in court again?

  • Prince Harry not expected to see Charles or William as he makes surprise return to UK

Prince Harry lost friends due to ‘paranoia’ over ‘unlawful’ stories, court told

13:45 , Sam Rkaina

The Duke of Sussex had “suspicion and paranoia” caused due to the publication of articles by Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) using unlawfully gathered information, the High Court has been told.

In written submissions for ANL, lawyers for the publisher quoted from documents filed on Harry‘s behalf.

Adrian Beltrami KC, for ANL, said the duke’s case was that “suspicion and paranoia was caused by Associated’s publication of the unlawful articles: friends were lost or cut off as a result and everyone became a ‘suspect’, since he was misled by the way that the articles were written into believing that those close to him were the source of this information being provided to Associated’s newspapers”.

The barrister continued: “The duke’s pre-action letter also stated that at the time he had become paranoid and suspicious by ‘unexplained disclosures of private information in your (ANL’s) publications’.”

Mr Beltrami added: “He stated that ‘the repeated, wrongful disclosures... had a serious and profound effect upon (him) at the time of their publication’ and that he had ‘painful memories... regarding the extent to which ANL publicised private and sensitive information relating to his private and family life’.”

Publisher commissioned breaking and entering into private property, court told

16:13 , Andy Gregory

Associated Newspapers commissioned “breaking and entering into private property”, the lawyer for the group of figures challenging the Daily Mail publisher told the High Court.

Each of the group has been “the victim of numerous unlawful acts” carried out by the publisher or those acting on its instruction, in deeds carried out “covertly” between 1993 to 2011, lawyer David Sherborne said.

“Some of them related to articles which were the product of those underlying unlawful acts through which the product was exploited or misused,” he added.

Because “those unlawful acts were covertly carried out and concealed at the time through the use of phrases that were deliberately misleading” his clients were “put off the scent” and did not bring their claims separately earlier,” he said.

“The defendant has continued this concealment through its strenuous public denials that it has done any of those acts at all,” Mr Sherborne added.

15:53 , Andy Gregory

Sir Elton John has left the High Court after attending the first day of the hearing in his claim against Associated Newspapers over allegations of unlawful information-gathering.

The musician waved at the cameras as he left the court (REUTERS)
The musician waved at the cameras as he left the court (REUTERS)

Mail on Sunday publisher paid investigator to ‘unlawfully' find address of politician’s lover, court told

15:51 , Andy Gregory

Associated Newspapers Ltd paid a private investigator to unlawfully find the address of a man it believed was the lover of Liberal Democrat politician Sir Simon Hughes, the High Court has been told.

Referring to the believed lover as HJK, Sir Simon’s lawyer David Sherborne said in written submissions that that the “the Mail on Sunday wanted a photograph of HJK [and the claimant] in order to be able to publish a story about their relationship”.

Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire “unlawfully obtained” the man’s mobile phone number, called it and “through means of deception managed to blag his home address”, Mr Sherborne alleged, adding: “Despite this, no story was published in the end in the Mail on Sunday as a bigger story broke, namely the revelation of an affair which the then deputy prime minister, John Prescott, had had with his secretary.”

The documents go on to say that ANL paid Greg Miskiw, a freelance journalist, “for the work done by Mr Mulcaire in relation to the claimant, as referred to above, described as ‘Simon Hughes’ boyfriend’.”

Mr Sherborne added: “The claimant has suffered considerable distress and harm, as well as the loss of his dignity or standing and his personal autonomy through the unlawful acts, its resultant invasions of his privacy and its deliberate exploitation and/or misuse of his unlawfully or illegally obtained information.”

Doreen Lawrence says trusting Mail made her wonder if she ‘failed her murdered son'

15:42 , Andy Gregory

Baroness Doreen Lawrence said she “wonders whether trusting the Daily Mail as she did caused her to have delayed or have failed her murdered son”, the High Court has heard.

In court documents made available to the press on Monday, her barrister David Sherborne said she feels “anger, shock and upset” about allegedly being targeted by the Daily Mail.

Baroness Lawrence “never once suspected” publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd of the allegations due to her trust in the Daily Mail, which campaigned to bring the killers of her son Stephen Lawrence to justice, her lawyer said.

“She wonders whether trusting the Daily Mail as she did caused her to have delayed or have failed her murdered son,” he added. “She asks herself whether more individuals could have been arrested, whether earlier investigations might have been more successful, and whether she could have got justice.”

Elton John had not seen copy of first child’s birth certificate before it was obtained by ANL, court told

15:39 , Andy Gregory

Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish had not seen a copy of their first child’s birth certificate before it was unlawfully obtained by Associated Newspapers Ltd, the High Court has heard.

The couple “found it particularly disturbing to understand the deliberate tactics deployed by Associated to bypass the confidentiality and ethical protections afforded to medical information”, said their lawyer David Sherborne.

“They were appalled by the unlawful articles published about the first claimant that were sourced this way. Worse still was Associated’s unlawful obtaining of their first child’s birth certificate, before they had even seen a copy themselves.

“They were heartbroken by the derogatory headline that Associated attached to it, clearly calculated to profit and generate public sensation about an event that they had so carefully guarded to keep precious. The fact that these unlawful articles, which carry so much upset, were founded through unlawful acts that were all the time deliberately concealed from them has enraged them.”

Doreen Lawrence believes son’s murder was ‘exploited’ by Daily Mail, court told

15:35 , Andy Gregory

Baroness Doreen Lawrence believes the murder of her son Stephen was “exploited” by Associated Newspapers Ltd to “generate ‘exclusive’ headlines, sell newspapers, and to profit”, the High Court has been told.

In written arguments, her barrister David Sherborne said she “feels anger, shock and upset”, adding: “Most of all, however, she feels a deep sense of betrayal.

“She finds it hard to believe the level of duplicity and manipulation that was clearly at play, knowing now as she does that the Daily Mail’s outward support for her fight to bring Stephen’s killers to justice was hollow and, worse, entirely false.

“The claimant now sees that the Daily Mail’s true interests were about self-promotion and using her and her son’s murder as a means to generate ‘exclusive’ headlines, sell newspapers, and to profit.

“The claimant cannot think of any act or conduct lower than stealing and exploiting information from a mother who buried her son for this reason. She feels used and violated, and like she has been taken for a fool.”

Doreen Lawrence’s Stephen was murdered in a racist attack in 1993 (PA Media)
Doreen Lawrence’s Stephen was murdered in a racist attack in 1993 (PA Media)

Sir Elton John’s landline was tapped and gardener targeted by ANL, court told

15:16 , Andy Gregory

Sir Elton John and David Furnish’s landline phone was tapped by a private investigator on the instructions of Associated Newspapers Limited, the High Court has been told.

Documents filed on the couple’s behalf, made available to the media on Monday, said that as well as having the landline at their home in Windsor tapped, Sir Elton’s personal assistant and the couple’s gardener were also targeted.

Their lawyer David Sherborne said in the written submission: “The claimants are outraged that Associated engaged in these unlawful and illicit acts in order to publish unlawful articles about them.

“They are also mortified to consider all their conversations, some of which were very personal indeed, were tapped, taped, packaged and consumed as a commercial product for journalists and unknown others to pick over, regardless of whether or not they were published.

“The hurt remains the same, knowing that their lives have been treated as a commodity and their precious, priceless moments of privacy degraded in this way.”

Mr Sherborne added: “In particular, they consider their private home a sacred space. To learn now that this was ruthlessly invaded, their home so violated, and their family and loved ones targeted, all through unlawful acts designed to steal and exploit their information, is unforgivable to them.”

Elton John and David Furnish ‘frightened’ by unexplained press disclosures, court told

15:08 , Andy Gregory

Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish found the unexplained disclosure of their private information in the press “frightening” and as a result have someone watching cameras in their home every night, the High Court has been told.

Associated Newspapers Ltd’s lawyer Adrian Beltrami KC quoted the pair as claiming that the “repeated, wrongful disclosures ... had a serious and profound effect upon [them] at the time of their publication”.

They were aware of “the extent to which Associated publicised private and sensitive information relating to their private and family life”, and they “became deeply paranoid and suspicious by unexplained disclosures of their private information in [Associated’s] publications, even where measures were taken to protect their privacy”, Mr Beltrami added.

Mr Beltrami said they stated that they “found these disclosures frightening, and as a consequence now have someone watching the cameras in their home of residence every night”.

However, Mr Beltrami said their case was being brought too late, arguing “there can be no doubt that by the start of 2016 Sir Elton and Mr Furnish were very much alive to the issue of (unlawful information gathering) by the press”.

The barrister added that “they have not provided any satisfactory explanation as to what necessary fact, as opposed to evidence, they did not know by October 2016 to articulate the essential elements of a claim against Associated”.

Elton John arrives in court

14:08 , Sam Rkaina

Sir Elton John has arrived in Court 76 of the Royal Courts of Justice.

The singer sat at the back of the large courtroom, arriving shortly before the hearing resumed for the afternoon.


What happened the last time Prince Harry was in court against a newspaper?

14:00 , Thomas Kingsley

Last July the High Court ruled a Mail on Sunday article on the Duke of Sussex’s legal claim against the Home Office contained parts that were defamatory.

The Duke of Sussex sued the Mail on Sunday’s publisher over a story on a separate High Court case over the decision to remove his automatic granting of police protection in the UK.

The February article carried the headline: “Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over police bodyguards a secret... then - just minutes after the story broke - his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute.”

Lawyers for Harry had argued the article was defamatory and suggested the duke had “improperly and cynically” tried to manipulate public opinion.

Associated Newspapers lawyers argue it is too late for Duke to bring forward claims

13:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Lawyers for Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) are arguing that the seven people in the privacy claims, including the Duke of Sussex, could have brought claims before October 2016, and were too late to have them heard now.

Adrian Beltrami KC, for the publisher, said in written submissions that the duke “does not offer any reason why he could not with reasonable diligence have discovered the basis for his inferential claim against Associated before October 2016”.

Quoting from Harry‘s letter of claim, he continued: “Indeed, the Duke was aware throughout this period of the intense interest in his life shown by the media and by Associated, of ‘strange things happening around his phone communications’, of ‘unexplained disclosures of private information’ in Associated’s publications and of journalists from Associated ‘regularly turning up at different locations which you would never expect them to, including South Africa... despite the extreme lengths my security team and I went to in order to protect my security and privacy’.”

“In truth, the duke had sufficient knowledge to articulate an inferential case against Associated long before October 2016,” Mr Beltrami said.


Photos from the day as Prince Harry case begins

13:30 , Thomas Kingsley


Judge grants anonymity for Daily Mail journalists involved in alleged phone-tapping

12:57 , Thomas Kingsley

The judge overseeing the Duke of Sussex's dispute with ANL has made an order temporarily preventing the reporting of the names of journalists linked to allegations against the publisher.

Mr Justice Nicklin permitted a bid by ANL to have a reporting restriction imposed while the publisher attempts to have the claims from Harry and others against it dismissed without a trial.

The judge said it was "not usual for the court to impose reporting restrictions at such an early stage of proceedings" but concluded in this instance it was "in the interests of fairness and the administration of justice".

The court heard that with ANL yet to file a formal defence in the cases, there was not yet a full response to any "adverse comments" that might be made about the journalists. Mr Justice Nicklin said it would not be in the public interest to "for one side of a series of allegations to be put when one side is absent".

The judge also granted reporting restrictions over certain information in court documents, that ANL alleges lawyers for the Duke of Sussex and others are using in breach of orders made by Lord Justice Leveson in his inquiry into press standards.

Mr Justice Nicklin said the temporary reporting restrictions would be revisited once he reaches a judgment over the preliminary issues being argued in court this week.

12:31 , Thomas Kingsley

Adrian Beltrami KC, in written submissions, argued the legal actions against his client Associated Newspapers have been brought too late and are "stale".

The barrister said the individuals have to prove they did not know earlier, or could not have discovered earlier, they might have had a claim against ANL for alleged misuse of their private information.

Mr Beltrami said that more than a decade after the Leveson Inquiry and several criminal and civil proceedings over phone hacking, "it would be surprising indeed for any reasonably informed member of the public, let alone a figure in the public eye, to have been unaware of these matters".

He continued: "The claimants have failed to show that they have a real prospect of discharging their burden at trial and the court should not hesitate to dismiss these stale claims at an early stage, thereby avoiding what would otherwise be a considerable waste of time, costs and the court's resources."

The hearing before Mr Justice Nicklin is due to conclude on Thursday.

Lawyers for Prince Harry claim unlawful acts include ‘breaking and entry into private property'

12:16 , Thomas Kingsley

David Sherborne, for the group of high-profile individuals, said the unlawful acts in the claim include commissioning the "breaking and entry into private property", illegally intercepting voicemail messages, listening to live landline calls and obtaining medical records.

He said in written submissions: "The claimants each claim that in different ways they were the victim of numerous unlawful acts carried out by the defendant, or by those acting on the instructions of its newspapers, The Daily Mail and The Mail On Sunday."

"They range through a period from 1993 to 2011, even continuing beyond until 2018," the barrister added.

ANL's lawyers have said privacy claims brought by seven high-profile individuals including the Duke of Sussex and Baroness Lawrence should be dismissed without a trial.

11:50 , Thomas Kingsley

The Duke of Sussex has made a surprise return to the UK for the first time since the late Queen's funeral - but is not expected to meet with the King or the Prince of Wales.

Just weeks ago, Harry laid bare his troubled relationship with his father the King and brother the Prince of Wales in his controversial autobiography Spare.

The King was due to be away on Monday on the first official state visit of his reign, but the trip to France was cancelled due to rioting over pension reforms, meaning Charles is now in the UK at the same time as Harry for the first time in six months.

But Buckingham Palace said the King was not in Windsor or London and would be leaving for a state visit to Germany on Wednesday morning.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

11:31 , Thomas Kingsley

Court proceedings began with a bid by ANL's lawyers to have certain reporting restrictions imposed in the case.

The Duke of Sussex sat towards the back of the courtroom, occasionally taking notes in a small black notebook as legal arguments were made by ANL's barrister Catrin Evans KC.

Actress Sadie Frost, who is also bringing a claim against the publisher, sat two seats away from Harry.

Sadie Frost arrives in court ahead of hearing

11:25 , Thomas Kingsley


ICYMI: Prince Harry and Sir Elton John launch legal action against Daily Mail publishers over ‘phone hacking’

10:45 , Thomas Kingsley

As the preliminary hearing is set to begin, let’s throwback to October when Prince Harry, among other high profile figures, announced they would be taking Associated Newspaper’s to court.

A group of individuals including Prince Harry and Sir Elton John have launched legal action against the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper over phone-hacking allegations.

The allegations include the commissioning of individuals to “surreptitiously listen into and record people’s live, private telephone calls whilst they were taking place” and the impersonation of individuals to obtain medical information from private hospitals, clinics, and treatment centres by deception.

Additional claims include the accessing of bank accounts, credit histories and financial transactions through illicit means and manipulation.

“These individuals have been the subject of public interest during the course of their careers and personal lives. They are united in their desire to live in a world where the press operates freely, yet responsibly. A press that represents truth, is sourced in fact and can be trusted to operate ethically and in the interests of the British public,” the statement said.

Read the full piece from October below:

Group including Prince Harry launch legal action against Daily Mail publishers

Duke arrives in court room

10:32 , Sam Rkaina

The Duke of Sussex has arrived at Court 76 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the preliminary hearing in his claim against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL).

Harry, along with six other people including Sir Elton John and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, is suing the Daily Mail publisher for misuse of private information.

The duke entered the central London courtroom at shortly before 10.30am, wearing a navy tie.

Prince Harry arrives in court

10:30 , Sam Rkaina


Publisher brands allegations “preposterous smears”

10:29 , Sam Rkaina

In a statement announcing the launch of the legal action, released by Hamlins law firm, it was alleged the unlawful acts included hiring private investigators to secretly place listening devices inside cars and homes and the recording of private phone conversations.

The publisher hit back at the allegations, describing them at the time as “preposterous smears” and a “pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone-hacking scandal”.

A spokesperson for ANL also said the allegations were “unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims, based on no credible evidence”.

A four-day preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London is due to begin on Monday, which is set to include ANL’s bid for the claims to be dismissed without a trial.

Duke of Sussex arrives in court

10:15 , Press Association

The Duke of Sussex has arrived at the High Court in London for a hearing in his claim against Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers over allegations of unlawful information-gathering.

The publisher is bringing a bid to end High Court claims brought by people including Harry, Sir Elton John and Baroness Doreen Lawrence over alleged unlawful activity at its titles.

The group of high-profile individuals, also including Sir Elton’s husband David Furnish and actresses Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost, announced in October they were bringing claims for misuse of private information against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL).

Their lawyers said at that time the group have “become aware of compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy” by ANL, which is also the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline.